I am writing to thank you for your sacrifices, for I am your great American granddaughter and today is a hopeful day here in the United States of America. Aside from ceaseless labor, I imagine they expected little of a girl like you in Mitau in the Duchy of Kurland, settled by Teutonic Knights but taken under Russian control in 1872, when you, great Bubbe, were born. I know they didn’t teach you to read or let you vote or choose your mate. But today I’m thinking about others in Mitau for whom life may have been harder still. Bubbe – did you have a confirmed village bachelor or maybe a pair of spinster roommates living in a cottage on the fringe of town, and did a whisper follow them whenever they dared walk through the shtetl square: faygele, faygele? Bubbe – did you ever see an African with black, black skin, and hear a different ugly Yiddish whisper close behind? And when the Cossacks came to town, did an ugly whisper sometimes follow you too? Well, please sit down because I want you to know that whatever happened in Mitau, today the highest court of our land granted homosexuals the right to marry. Today, great Bubbe, was also my fifth of twenty days of grand-jury duty in the unified court system here in downtown New York County, where in our jury room beside my small Jewish self sits a man who, on our breaks, reads on an electronic book called a Kindle in lovely Arabic script, and on my other side sits an African-American woman who is an attorney, and in the row behind us, two women with two strong accents have linked arms in fast friendship: a shy young Asian and a Jamaican grandma. They taught me to read, Bubbe, they taught me well, so I can tell you about our African-American president who gave two speeches today, one a eulogy for a pastor slain in his sanctuary by the kind of hatred bred by ignorance, which may be the only kind. The other speech commemorated the ruling on what we call gay marriage, the ruling that, frankly, seemed just as unimaginable to most of us as it must seem to you. Today, said the president, our union is a little more perfect. On day one, Kevin, the warden of our jury room, gave us a tour of our corner of the criminal court. “Here are the vending machines that sell Pepsi products,” he joked. “The ones that sell Coca-Cola products are segregated at the far end of the hall,” and I despaired for my nation as I so often do, and I know that you cannot begin to understand what I’m telling you. But maybe it’s true after all, great Bubbe, what our slain leader King said, invoking the words of a Unitarian reverend American Transcendentalist abolitionist fourteen years before you were born: the arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Every day when Kevin lets us jurors go I walk from the courthouse to my parked bicycle unencumbered by ankle chains or even ankle-length skirts, and Bubbe, no whispers ever follow me, and today I can almost believe the day will come when no whispers will follow anyone.